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STOWE, Vt., Feb. 10, 2009 — In the endless barrage of bad
economic news and near-daily layoff announcements, one
marketing company specializing in the design and production
of custom stickers, labels and magnets is choosing to focus
on the positive. (,
a division of Freely Creative, Inc.
(, is making some bold choices
that fly in the face of the recession — and set it apart
from other printing services.

Company founder Jeff Nicholson calls his company’s approach
“Group Hug Marketing”: Invite people in, make them
comfortable, and do everything possible to meet their needs.
Sales and profits, he says, are simply a side benefit of a
marketing strategy that emphasizes building relationships.
At, that strategy includes providing personal
service and consulting and doing design at no charge. The
company even recommends other printer resources if they can
better handle a client’s job.“We’ve been in the custom sticker business for 16 years, and
in that time we’ve learned what works for our clients and
for our own company,” Nicholson said. “It’s easy for
businesses to hit the panic button and begin outsourcing or
cutting employee benefits when profits start to slip. has decided to go a different direction. It’s
business as usual, and that means taking care of our clients
and our employees.”

For employees “business as usual” includes raises, free ski
passes, and flex time for out of office activities. In the
office, refuses to automate or outsource
design, is increasing its free production program for
nonprofit/charity organizations, and is putting clients —
not profits — first. It’s a business model that may not
seem to make sense in today’s economy, but Nicholson has
built his business, which now produces over 16 million
stickers annually, on strong relationships.

“Just because anyone can now design products themselves
online doesn’t mean that’s the best choice for printers or
customers,” Nicholson explained. “At, our
number-one goal is not to sell the customer quickly with
limited interaction, but to build trust and then help create
the best, most economical product possible for their needs.
Yes, times are tough, but that’s not a reason to change our
goals or to abandon the ideals on which our business was
built — ideals based more on sustainable well-being than on
growth and profits.”

Freely Creative, Inc. was founded in 1992 and launched its
online presence as in 1997. The company
prints custom promotional stickers, bumper stickers, decals,
magnets, labels and sticker-based marketing pieces; clients
can provide their own artwork or have the
team handle the design. Featuring a newly redesigned Web
site, offers free consultations, free design
and top-quality products for “When You Want Your Name To
Stick.” To learn more and meet the staff, visit




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